Although most kids look forward to being able to use the toilet on their own, they can easily get frustrated by the inevitable accidents. Navigating thatgray area between diapers and underwear can be hard on you too.

Potty Training: 11 Rules to Succeed

Here are some tips that will help make potty training as easy as possible for everyone concerned.

Wait until your child is ready.Trying to potty-train a child who's not ready can actually extend the process. Try and avoid starting training when there are other big changes in yourchild's life, such as illness, divorce, a death in the family (even of a pet) or moving to a new home.

Take it one step at a time.To get the process going, you may want to start by leaving a potty seat on the floor of the bathroom for a few days. Tell your child that the little toiletis for her and the big one is for grown-ups. A few days later, have her sit on the seat (fully clothed is fine). After another few days, start asking yourchild a number of times every day whether you can take off her diaper so she can sit on her special seat.

Get the right equipment.Child potty seats should be low enough that both feet can rest firmly on the floor. Skip the urine deflectors (shields that attach to the front of the seatto keep boys' urine inside the toilet). They seem like a great idea but can sometimes hurt boys who don't sit down exactly right, and the last thing youwant is to have your child associate going to the bathroom with pain.

Don't flush in front of the child, at least at first.While some kids may be fascinated and want to flush over and over and over, others may be terrified, believing that a part of them is being sucked down thetoilet..Minimize or eliminate liquids within an hour of bedtime.This will increase the chances that your child will wake up dry, which will boost his confidence.Learn to recognize the signs.When you see that knees-together, bouncing-up-and-down dance, find a bathroom fast.Be positive, but not too positive.Too much excitement about the contents of a diaper can give a toddler the idea that what he's produced is somehow valuable, which may result in him wantingto keep it for himself (inside his body if necessary).

Make it fun.Boys in the early stages of potty training are notoriously bad at aiming. Putting some o-shaped cereal or other targets in the water, or adding some bluefood coloring (which turns green when the yellow urine hits it), can make urinating more fun for your son and less messy for you.

Don't worry about night training for a whileWait at least until your child is regularly dry after waking from naps and occasionally dry in the morning. Overnight bladder control doesn't usuallycome for a year or so after daytime control.

Coordinate your approach with other caregivers.Barring any major life change, once you've started the potty training process, there should be no going back. Let all teachers and caregivers know whatyou're doing at home and ask them to do the same.Avoid making punishment a part of potty training.It's impossible to force a child to use the toilet if she isn't ready or doesn't want to. Children who feel pressured sometimes try to regain control ofthe situation by refusing to get out of diapers or by not going to the bathroom at all. This can lead to constipation or other conditions that will need tobe treated by your pediatrician.

The Most Important Rule

Be consistent and patient: you'll be surprised at how soon your little one will master this new skill!